The University appreciates the efforts of those who travel on University business. At the same time, it is necessary to keep the costs of travel within reasonable limits, to follow consistent reimbursement procedures, and to comply with IRS imposed substantiation policies to ensure that reimbursements are not considered taxable income.
This policy is intended to:
- Ensure that only reasonable and necessary expenditures for authorized business are incurred, documented and paid for by the University.
- Ensure clear and consistent understanding of policies and procedures.
- Make sure that all payments are in conformity with applicable laws, acceptable practices, and common sense.
- Provide guidelines that enable the University and its departments to better manage their budgets.
Scope of Policy
The policy applies to all employees who incur reimbursable expenses while traveling for the University, regardless of the source of funds.
The Internal Revenue Service imposes the following requirements on reimbursement of business expenses (1) there must be a business reason for the expenses (2) the individual must substantiate the expense; and (3) the individual must return to the employer or organization any amount advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses.
For travel expenses to be reimbursed they must be properly accounted for on a travel and reimbursement form, with the business purpose stated and proper supervisory approvals obtained.
Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Expenses
All travel costs must be approved in advance. It is the responsibility of the Department Heads/School Deans to verify that there are budget funds available. There will be no reimbursement for unauthorized travel and travel costs.
Business travel expenses will be paid by the University if they are reasonable, appropriately documented, and properly authorized.
Reimbursable expenses include, but are not limited to the following:
- Coach airfare/baggage fee
- Rental car/Shuttle
- Personal mileage – paid at current IRS rate
- Conference fees
- Airline seating upgrades
- Hotel recreational activities
- Hotel or airplane movie rentals
- Laundry and valet services
- Expenses related to vacation or personal days taken before, during or after a business trip
- Pet care including kennel or pet sitting fees
- Spousal or family travel
- Any other personal expense not related to the business purpose of the trip
Substantiation – Receipts and Documentation
The IRS requires that requests for reimbursements to individuals be substantiated with original receipts. For online purchases, a screen print of the confirmation screen or email acknowledgement is acceptable.
The following are examples of acceptable documentation:
- Meals – meals are reimbursable up to $70 a day, with original receipts. A chit torn from a receipt is not acceptable – the receipt must show the detail of the meal purchased.
- Lodging – hotel statement or folio
- Rental car – rental agency invoice
- Mileage – documentation of distance traveled – mapquest or similar
- Taxi - receipt
- Airfare – original passenger receipt or electronic ticket receipt
Authorization and Reimbursement Procedures
All travel costs must be approved in advance. It is the responsibility of the Department Head/School Dean to verify that there are budget funds available. There will be no reimbursement for unauthorized travel and travel costs.
Step # 1
- Employee completes Travel Authorization Form
- Employee submits Form to Department Head/Dean for approval
- Form should be returned to employee
THIS FORM SHOULD ACCOMPANY ALL REQUEST FOR REIMBURSEMENT OR CASH ADVANCES
- Employee makes travel arrangements.
- The University will prepay travel and/or conference expenses by check or university credit card.
- Requests for payment must have Travel Authorization Form attached.
- Expenses prepaid by the employee will be reimbursed at the completion of the trip.
- Upon completion of travel a Travel Reconciliation Form must be submitted to the Accounts Payable Office.
- Travel reconciliations must be filed, with all required documentation, within ten business days of the completion of the trip.
- Employees will receive reimbursement within one week of receipt of completed paperwork.
- Make sure you also fill out the Mileage Worksheet and the Currency Converter Worksheet as necessary.
Travel Advances may be authorized for University-related travel, subject to supervisory approval. Employees who travel for business purposes are expected to arrange for prepayment of expenses whenever possible.
A cash advance of $100 a day, not to exceed a total of $400, will be issued for meals and miscellaneous expenses. Additional per diem may be approved at the discretion of the appropriate supervisor.
Requests for advances may be submitted 30 days in advance of travel; funds will be issued 15 days prior to travel.